JCPenney is excited to announce the promotion of Rachel Jud to vice president and divisional merchandise manager of salon. In her new role, Jud is responsible for leading more than 750 JCPenney salon and Salon by InStyle locations, including more than 10,000 stylists nationwide.
She will be focused on fostering successful partnerships within the company and with external vendors, as well as driving field, education and home office associates to deliver a salon experience that exceeds client expectations and creates long-term loyalty to JCPenney. With leadership experience in sales, marketing, training and service operations, Jud brings a wealth of industry knowledge and the ability to craft effective strategies to her new role.
Prior to assuming this position, she served as senior director of salon services and education where Jud introduced new client services, launched an internal stylist recruitment campaign and led an award-winning artistic education team while continuing to build upon the company’s InStyle partnership.
Prior to joining the JCPenney salon team, Jud held leadership roles in the beauty community including positions at Beauty Systems Group, a subsidiary of Sally Beauty Holdings. Her experience working with the largest product and chain salon brands in professional beauty provides her a unique perspective on the salon industry and its untapped potential for growth.
We spent time with Jud recently to talk about the new role.
MODERN SALON: Congratulations, Rachel! This is so exciting. Why is this a role you’re excited to fill?
RACHEL JUD: My passion has always been serving the stylist community. That’s where I find I can best offer value and that was the reason I came to JCPenney in the first place. I saw the opportunity to get closer to the stylist, closer to what they need, closer to being able to support them going after their dreams.
MS: You’re bringing a unique perspective to the brand given your experience, relationships with influencers and social media savvy.
RJ: I started out calling on salons as an outside sales rep for chain accounts right out of college. I remember being at the Paul Mitchell Gathering 15 years ago, thinking “I have found my people.” My mantra is to show up and believe that good things will happen, but you have to show up. I was lucky that I found what I love early on and really pounded the pavement. I’ve had incredible leaders who have invested in me—actually, I’ve only ever had female bosses and female mentors within the industry. They took interest in me, mentored me, told me when I was off track and celebrated when I was on track: I want to return that favor to a community I see as so deserving.
MS: You have amazing relationships in the industry outside of the corporate world, I remember seeing photos of you at your friend Larisa Love’s home just a few weeks ago. How will you bring your knowledge of social media and the power of connecting online to the brand?
RJ: We are in a really interesting place in the industry where social media, as much as we complain about it, has done amazing things for our industry as a whole, dialing down all the way to the stylist level, and impacting their lives. We as a company have a responsibility to drive the industry in that direction to celebrate our stylists as professionals. A big turning point for me was the moment I realized how important it is that we, in corporate America, are able to serve as a bridge between two worlds—corporate and artistry.
MS: You recently debuted an interesting piece in the May issue of MODERN SALON, showcasing the iBelong campaign. Perfect timing that it hit right as your promotion was announced.
RJ: To see this piece come to life in the way that it did for JCPenney and telling the stories of these incredible stylists who are defining success—whether it’s having the flexibility to pick up their kids at 3pm, for example, or becoming an artistic lead educator—however it looks for it’s a very powerful message. Stylists they trust each other in a way they’re never going to trust a corporate message—so we’re trying to make it about the people. We want to celebrate the everyday heroes in our salons working hard to make their clients feel great and meet their own professional and personal goals.
MS: How do you plan to define success as you enter this new role?
RJ: I’ll go back to what is my role in every role that I’ve been in: Success, for me, is when I feel like I’m offering value and learning something. For the business, it’s about getting better every day. My predecessor Natalie did incredible things for the business with thinking outside of the box with the Cinderella compensation plan, and build a fantastic foundation for me to build upon. As a team, we’re still defining what success means but it’s being somewhere people go and feel comfortable and well cared for, both on the client side and the stylist side. My experience is that when you do the right thing for the stylist and the right for the client you get the right results.